Australian songwriter Al Matcott initially revealed his personal artistic self through the Kurt Vile-esque, alt-indie of debut single Mediocre, which expensed his world-weary, withering lyrical intonations with sardonic vocals and a biting chorus; new single Justine is a sharp and unpredictable veer into noisome, distortion-prominent power-pop, with Matcott’s roots and country drive still at the foundations.
The track also exhibits Matcott’s incisive balancing of lilting melodies and rattling noise; light and dark tones, swerving from the anthemic nature of Pixies and deftly into the indie-folk of The Middle East. Justine, Matcott explains, revolves around the “…titular character from the Marquis de Sade’s novel…”:
“I finished reading it when I was feeling burnt out on tour in Adelaide. The whole book is her being mistreated by the world and (spoiler alert) it doesn’t end well. I imagined a different ending where she unleashed righteous vengeance on the world. It felt pretty metal.
My bassist Brendan and I fucked around with the track – I had a psych bridge in mind and he added some backing harmonies which added some melodrama. Wouldn’t recommend the book though. 4 out of 10.”
The video for Justine was created by director Michael Ridley – check it out below.
The journey that led to the unique rock and folk duality Matcott incorporates began with the early impacts of his drum teacher father firmly seating him behind the kit, his mother taking him to plenty of folk festivals. He was later part of bands like Euphoriacs, Honey Badgers, and Buried Feather – as either drummer or guitarist/vocalist.
These summative experiences led to Matcott adopting this singer-songwriter, candid and expansive, narrative driven direction; fully embodied on his upcoming EP, which features both Justine and Mediocre. You Can Be Anyone showcases – as in the emotional gravitas Matcott’s lyrical narratives communicate – his music’s tendency not to resolve quickly, often through expansive, considered, five-minute plus stretches like saloon-style piano outro that follows the stormy climax of ‘The Truthseeker’. The EP was conceived as catharsis to the isolation Matcott felt from the pandemic:
“Once lockdown hit, I picked up the guitar and started writing a whole new pack of songs,” he recalls. “I think I write as catharsis. The songs off this EP I wrote back in New Zealand in part to deal with how isolated I felt. When lockdown hit it only makes sense, I dove back into writing to get through it.”
You Can Be Anyone is released August 6th.